Looking for the best Kent Christmas events and days out this year? We have over 25 suggestions for some festive fun in both Kent and East Sussex this year!
The best Kent Christmas events and days out this year – I think we could all do some Christmas cheer to end 2020 on a high! Here at My Tunbridge Wells we have been making a list and checking it twice for festive activities to enjoy with the family this year in and around Tunbridge Wells as well as throughout Kent and East Sussex. Anywhere a Tunbridge Wells family would visit this festive season.
Organisers have worked hard to safely provide many of the seasonal favourites, as well as adapting to offer exciting, new ideas too. The skating is back at Calverley Grounds and Santa Claus IS coming to town. Plus several festive trails to enjoy outdoors!
Separate to this, We have a bumper blog post with places to visit Father Christmas in Kent and East Sussex this year. The places mentioned below are more of a festive family day out whether you decide to visit Santa or not.
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So what exactly are the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out this year?
♥ Have you seen this giant gingerbread house in Calverley Grounds? The Inside has been transformed and are running a free gingerhunt event (donations, if you can afford, ALL going to the incredible @chestnuttreehouse) which we can’t wait to take part in. You must go and see it for yourselves too!
♥ There are 20 naughty elves spreading their magic around Southborough woods, next to St Peter’s Church and surrounding woodland. 19 of the elves have a letter of the alphabet with them. Can you find all the elves and work out what the secret Christmas phrase is? Have fun and wrap up warm! Well done to Emma and her family for setting up this fantastic trail, bringing some Christmas cheer to all of us.
♥ Take part in the free gingerbread trail at Hilbert & Grosvenor Park from Saturday 5th December. Look out for 25 gingerbread men and women hidden around the park. Can you find all their names? Answers sheets and details can be collected from the Table 8 Cafe by the park playground. A small prize for all completed answer sheets can be collected from the cafe (whilst stocks last!).
♥ This December, Penshurst village will be transforming into an enormous Christmas advent calendar! Each day from 6pm between now and 24th December, a new house or business in the village will be displaying their own festive design in their window as part of the village advent calendar. Take a look at the map to see where and when the participating properties will be on show, including the Porcupine Pantry Cafe on 4th, and Forge Stores on the 7th. Such a lovely idea….
♥ Choose from Ice Skating, Believe (an enchanting festive journey, illuminated by Christmas spirit and glowing magical moments of wonder.) or Winterland (carnival and rides) at Bluewater this December. Pre-book your tickets online!
♥ The open-air ice rink is back at Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells for its 12th year. I’m so pleased, as it’s such a festive spectacle and annual treat that would be really missed now. Additional safety measures are in place this year, such as one extra-large rink to allow for distancing and face masks will be required on the ice. Toddler sessions are running on weekends at 9.15am. Booking is now open for sessions from Friday 11th December until Sunday 17th January.
♥ Take the family to Wilderness Wood to pick out and cut your own Christmas tree. The Christmas Markets will be taking place on 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th December. There will be festive fun, with barista coffee and hot chocolate, wood fired pizzas, chestnuts and treats on the fire, as well and tree decorations and gifts for sale from local artists.
More of the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out…
♥ Hever Castle invite you to never grow up at Peter Pan’s Christmas on selected dates from now until Christmas Eve. Follow the immersive trail through the garden to Neverland. Christmas at Hever Castle is always a magical day out! Even without being able to visit the Castle itself or Father Christmas (which is booked out) it is bound to be a lovely festive day out. Tickets are currently available for the Gardens Only with fairly good availability.
♥ Standen House invites visitors to immerse themselves in a 1930’s family Christmas from now until 3rd January 2020. Learn about the Beale family traditions in the house and then head out to the gardens on the themed children’s trail.
One of our favourite Christmassy places to visit…
♥ Transport yourself to Christmas past at Ightham Mote. Although the house isn’t open, the kids can run off steam in the gardens on the self-led Peter Rabbit family trail. Every day from now until Sunday 3rd January 2021. Pre-booked tickets only.
♥ Imagine the best panto, your favourite Christmas movie and festive show all rolled into one! Well that’s what the team at Tulleys Farm have been working on this year for a Drive-In Christmas experience. For one year only, prepare to take part in the Christmas show, shown live on the giant screen, with interactive games, sing along, plus gingerbread making and build a bear delivered to your car to add to the cheer! Book now for weekend dates from now and every day from 19th -24th December.
♥ Further afield, Wakehurst gardens will be glowing after dark, with lanterns, mesmerising projections, soundscapes, fire torches and the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 twinkling lights. Glow Wild 2020 runs on selected evenings between now and 30th December.
♥ A trip to London to see the Christmas Lights never fails to get us in the mood! Winter Wonderland is unfortunately cancelled this year, but there are plenty more seasonal events in London at Christmas time, such as the Winter Markets, , pop-up ice rinks and Christmas shows, to name a few, not forgetting the world-famous shopping! I have heard of some people taking London Cab tours of the Christmas lights…
♥ If you like the idea of taking some time out for yourself and doing something creative with friends then Christmas Wreath Making might be a great options for you. There are a few places to do it including the beautiful Bloom Foundry in St John’s which promises to be great fun!
Look out for more Kent Christmas events and days out being added to this post…
♥ Explore Haysden Country Park with a self-led Christmas walking trail, available to print out online at home beforehand. Taking place from 11am on 7th December to 1st January, visitors are welcome to take part in the trail at anytime. Follow the fun clues by walking around the park and finding the answers. This is a self led trail, so no booking is needed.
♥ All aboard the Polar Express train for a magical, immersive pantomime adventure visiting 14 sets from around the world. Play the family games and solve the challenges before arriving at the North Pole and the Big Man himself who has a gift for the kids. Booking now for dates between 7th December and 5th January at Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures near Brighton.
More festive fun both locally in Tunbridge Wells and further afield…
♥ Support people living with terminal illness by joining in with the Hospice in the Weald’s festive stich-a-stocking campaign. Download the guide to sew, knit or crotchet a Christmas stocking for the Hospice to sell online and in their charity shops, raising vital funds to run the Hospice.
♥ Garden centres always make me feel festive, with all the twinkling lights, Christmas trees and decorations. The whole family can enjoy picking out a tree, picking up some new decorations and then head to the café for a mince pie. Head to your favourite, or Sussex Country Garden, Notcutts, Millbrook in Staplehurst or Crowborough and Polhill are some of ours!
Who else loves a Christmas market?
♥ Soak up the festive spirit while you shop at The Pantiles Christmas Market every weekend in December. From 10am to 4pm, enjoy stalls selling unique local food, drink, seasonal goodies, bread, clothing, art, craft and vintage. Warm up in one the many cafes, restaurants and pubs in the picturesque part of town adorned with twinkling lights.
♥ The children can make their own chocolates to give as gifts or enjoy over the festive period, at Temper Temper Chocolate workshop on Monday 21st and Wednesday 23rd December.
♥ Christmas lights and a winter walk? There are always some cheerful Christmas lights to see at homes around Tunbridge Wells. We will update our ‘Where to find the best Christmas lights around Tunbridge Wells’ blog post when we know more. Why not combine it with a winter walk to a cosy pub or to a local cafe for a hot chocolate?
More of the our favourite East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out…
♥ This has been anything but expected, so this Christmas at Leeds Castle they’ll be embracing the unexpected with a display of alternative Christmas trees outdoors! These non-traditional trees will include one made entirely of crockery in the Queen’s Gallery, with the tips and trimmings made from cutlery. As well as the alternative tree installations children will be able to post their letters to Father Christmas at his special post office, and the team will make sure that he gets them in time for a special Christmas delivery. Tickets seem to be bookable 7 days in advance of visiting.
♥ The Elves have been working hard to keep the magic of Christmas alive at Godstone Farm this year with an experience close to that of Christmas’ past. As well as all of the usual fun of the farm, let little ones wander through the magical tunnel with the friendly elves and be guided to meet the man himself! There’s Christmas crafts and cookie decorating too! Father Christmas visits are available on selected dates in December and you can book your tickets here
♥ Southborough and District Lions Club will be brining Rudolph, Santa and his Sleigh to Southborough again this Christmas from 7th to 16th December, but this year, they kindly ask that you stay indoors and wave to santa as he passes. Look out for the sparkly Christmas lights and listen out for the festive Christmas music. Find out which roads are included here. and click here for info about how to donate to help raise funds for local charities. They also plan to be down at the millennium clock on 19th December.
♥ Phoenix Events are bringing the first ever Drive-Thru Christmas Winter Wonderland to Delting in Maidstone from 18th to 22nd December. Enter through a Christmas tree avenue, and see how many enchanting surprises you can spot on the way! Before parking up, watching an on-screen Christmas Concert and seeing fireworks (on selected dates). Father Christmas and his reindeer will be wavin to the children too!
♥ Join the volunteers at the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells to enjoy a Mince Pie Special on the impressive Bulleid Pacific No 34053 steam locomotive named ‘Sir Keith Parks’ between 28th December and 3rd January.
♥ English Heritage have come up with a great way for the whole family to leave the new toys and jigsaws behind for a while and enjoy some fresh air between Christmas and New Year from 26th December to 3rd January. Take on the Battle Abbey adventure quest, that will see you exploring the castle grounds hunting for clues and QR codes to revel quirky tales. Then sit back to enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine in the beautiful wintry surroundings.
Events which are sold out…..
♥ The Bluebell Railway in Uckfield, will be lighting up the winter nights with a seasonal lights spectacular, not seen before in the South East. Jump aboard a magical steam train covered with thousands of colourful lights, which illuminates the landscape as you pass festive displays, music and narration. Please note, this event is now SOLD OUT.
♥ Visiting Bedgebury Pinetum after dark to marvel open-mouthed at the mile-long magical spectacle of light has become a highlight of the season for many families. Christmas at Bedgebury makes a welcome return for a third year, from now until New Year’s Eve. Surround yourself with singing trees saturated in colour-changing lights, giant baubles and snowflakes, the breath-taking tunnel of light, flickering flames in the fire garden, and don’t miss a special appearance by Father Christmas. Read our Christmas at Bedgebury review. Please note, this event is now SOLD OUT.
I hope your found this blog post with the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out useful? If you haven’t booked a visit to Father Christmas in Kent and East Sussex yet, we have a very special guide with some amazing options!